Travel had me starting very late on this one, only doing some initial beats in 6/8 (Ableton 64-pad rock kit) and bass on Friday night, adding a bit of Operator (1st and 3rd partial) late Saturday. Initially I'd thought of adding guitar, but...I found myself enjoying the sparse dub-like quality of this, even though it's not that heavy on the dub delay. It needed something else at the end, so I added three tracks of Simpler with different field recording samples.
Sends: Convolution reverb (with Auto-Filter bass rolloff), Echo (Dem Ducks, with tweaks). Full-chain master on the 2.
Title from a quality of berkelium, this week's element--it emits low-energy electrons, so it's safe to handle...but on the other hand, it decays into the very-radioactive californium, so...if you have the opportunity to handle any, just don't.
This week's track, done in a few quick passes...and with a day-long pause while the laptop was in the shop.
I had four Drum Rack lines (Kit Carbon, two Muttkaste, Altered Kit), three of which were severely filtered, one of which boosted (one of the Muttkaste). There's also Electric and Vibes, two Res-O-Glas (different Auto-Filter settings), and Epiphone P-J bass (EQ-8). Putting it together...my sense of the "one" kept shifting, so there's a weird floating feeling to this one. I kept needing to cut parts that got cluttered.
Sends: two echo returns, one convolution reverb.
Title from the crystalline structure of Americium, this week's element.
Early in the week, I had a funky drum beat in my mind, and threw it together with Ableton's 64-pad rock kit. I didn't have a chance to put guitar on it right away, so I temporarily filled the track in with a looped field recording from my back yard. Gradually, keys went on (filtered Analog), and I added bass. Finally, late Sunday, I had a few minutes to put guitar (Res-O-Glas, Vox Wah) on, and then I cut down the field recordings significantly, as well as slowing speed and dropping pitch.
Drums: Drum Buss, vinyl distortion. (I'd got it into my mind that this would add character.)
Bass: EQ-8, with bass rolloff.
Guitar: Auto-Filter high/low pass with drive.
Field recordings: Auto-Filter high/low pass, auto-pan
Sends: convolution reverb, Echo ("A Bit Tipsy" with time changed and noise/wobble reduced). Full-chain master on the 2-bus.
Title from Fermi's name for element 94 (plutonium) when he'd thought he'd discovered it--"hesperium." (He didn't.)
Suddenly, instrumental power pop. This week started with the little legato line you hear in the left channel, and the rest followed along: drums (the Ableton 64-pad rock drum rack, percussion from a maraca sample), three channels of Res-o-Glas guitar (a couple of them through the EH LPB2ube), and Epi P-J bass. A fair amount of auto-filter on guitar, and EQ-8 on bass. Sends: two convolution reverbs. Full-Chain Master on the master channel.
Title from this week's element, Neptunium.
This piece came together from some syncopated drum lines and little compositional direction. I put down some Electric and Operator lines, tracked bass around a few repetitive figures, and guitar (Res-O through Vox Wah) on top...which didn't coalesce until I copied the guitar lines to another channel and reversed all the clips in that channel. Then it kind of came together. Very little inline processing except for M4L Humanizer and Drum Buss on the drums, Auto-Pan on the keys, Auto-Filter with drive on the forwards guitar. Sends: two convolution reverbs, Delay, Echo. Full-Chain master on the master channel. Kind of floaty.
Title from associations from this week's element, uranium. I'm a fan of the work of the late sculptor James L. Acord, who was the only private individual to have earned a license to work with radioactive materials, including uranium (which he initially gathered by leaching it off of mango red Fiestaware). He'd planned a series of sculptures--reliquaries--designed to contain radioactive materials, which he'd wanted to install at the Hanford Reservation, a project he didn't live to complete.
This week's track was about playing with some syncopated rhythms, which then coalesced into something funky. Drums: one Drum Rack with the Crossroads Kit preset, one 808 Status Quo, one with some tabla samples, and one set of handclaps. Operator on the Funky Organ preset. One track of Epiphone P-J bass, and two of Res-O-Glas guitar (one clean with Vox Wah, and one with Reuss RF-01). A bit of Drum Buss and M4L Humanizer on the Crossroads kit, and EQ-8 on the bass.
Sends: one convolution reverb, one Delay, and one Echo. Full-Chain Master on the mixdown.
Title from the way that thorium-treated lenses will darken over time.
While busy weeks are common now, this one was notably busy. But here's a track anyway. I had kind of a dub idea in mind, thinking of space and interplay...which I kind of got away from, but perhaps not unlistenably.
Drums: Ableton's Borella kit, with Drum Buss, little tiny synth noises from the Ableton DrumSynth kit, and hand claps with Impulse. Epi P-J bass, and Epi Moderne guitar (through Vox Wah). Operator for the organ part. I tracked some fretless guitar that I didn't end up using...but the fretless will probably reappear soon.
Sends: two convolution reverbs, one Delay, and one Echo.
Title from the etymology of this week's element, actinium.
Lots going on this week, so this came together quickly Saturday night and Sunday. Started with reverse-gated 606 syncopated line, adding hand claps. I then tracked three different sets of lines with Res-O-Glas guitar (Balls Effects KWB -> Vox Wah -> Ableton Auto-Filter -> Ableton Cabinet), Epiphone P-J bass (EQ-8 to roll off lows). Then I went back to add a line of percussion, which sounded wrong, so I bitcrushed it. This one was very intuitive--just tracking little improvised phrases that seemed to work with each other.
Sends: two different room sizes of convolution reverb, with one channel of echo. Full-chain master on the 2-bus.
Title from the inspiration for radium's name. Kinda obvious, but there we have it.
Kind of a mood piece. Much of my musical activity this week was focused on the monthly covers project (Black Sabbath this month), so my work on this one was a little later than usual, and more intuitive and reactive than planned.
Drums: reverse-gated 606 and 808, straight 808, and Ableton Cashon kit. Bit of Ableton Electric piano, and Epi bass, with two tracks of Res-O-Glas guitar (Balls Effects KWB pedal into Vox Wah). Bass got the usual EQ-8 low rolloff, while one channel of guitar got the low-pass and high-pass Auto-filter treatment. Both got Cabinet. Lot of send automation to a channel of Ableton Echo (with LFO band-pass Auto-Filter in front of it), and two different room convolution reverbs for space.
Title from the fact that this week's element, Francium, was the last to be discovered in nature, instead of being produced synthetically.
A more "intuitive" approach on this one: I threw together a few drum beats during the week that had some ambiguity, and then tracked bass (Epi P-J) and guitar (Res-O) Friday and Saturday, not having much of an overall architectural plan, other than cutting parts out of the bass for the start/stop feeling in the beginning. Gradually it came together with Ableton Simpler grand piano as glue (Auto-Filter high- and low-pass with drive to make it grittier). Auto-Filter overdrive on guitars, EQ-8 on bass. Sends: Echo (Analog Triplet Dub) and two convolution reverbs.
This week's element was Polonium, which...is pretty negative as a subject. Apparently mid-20th-century, Firestone produced polonium spark plugs, which seems...like a bad choice.
This week's track started with the two drum patterns (Electro Dub kit and 64-pad rock kit) that together had a slow, off-kilter groove with each other. I didn't get around to tracking until Friday evening (one whole set of Fahey-tuned guitar that I didn't use, fake Mellotron that I didn't use, either). Saturday I did bass and Epiphone Moderne (Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah, and also a track of non-distorted Moderne with wah). I extracted a track of unintentional sounds from the fuzz channel, and arranged them throughout for some texture; I'd toyed with the thought of building the piece around them, but opted to go for something less outside this time.
Sends: two convolution reverbs (room ambience, weirder room ambience on the fuzz guitar) and one echo (automated send on the one drum). There's a lot of EQ-8 to roll off low frequencies on the bass and on the electro-dub kit. And some M4L Humanizer on the drums. Full-chain master on everything.
Title from one of the earliest uses (fishing sinkers) for this week's element, lead.
Carved out a little time this week for a track. My initial thought was to do something shoegazey, and then I immediately started making this vintage-y funk thing. Apparently my internal aesthetic compass is a gyroscope.
Drum racks of Acoustified 15 and Emperor kit (through Drum Buss), Operator with a triangle wave and a hint of 3rd harmonic, Electric on the MkI2 crunch preset, Epi P-J with bass rolloff, and Epi Moderne through Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah. Sends are a convolution reverb and Echo on Dub Syndicate preset. Full-Chain Master on the master channel.
Title from the iridescent quality of iridium (which gives it its name).
Another busy week, but this track still came together. I've been listening a lot to John Zorn's The Book Beri'ah, and wanted to do something with a syncopated danceability like many of the pieces there. I put up a Drum Rack (64-pad jazz) through a severe gate (influence of the new Burial there), and then...just responded to it on bass. Then I responded to that with more bass, added hand claps and percussion, and then a layer of baglama-tuned Heit Deluxe guitar. A touch of reverb and a bit of automated delay on the drums/percussion...and here we are.
Title from one of the properties of this week's element, osmium.
This one was difficult to finish--I didn't want to fall into a retread, and some aspects are similar to a lot of other this-tempo guitar/bass/keys/drums things I've done. So...what to do? I started editing stuff out, and this start/stop approach seemed to pull it into having an identity.
64-pad jazz drum rack, 64-pad special kit (both with M4L Humanizer and Drum Buss, two Puremagnetik Rhodes instruments, Epi P-J bass through the Balls KWB (still pulled down bass with EQ-8), two tracks of Res-O-Glas (KWB and not, one with Auto-Filter drive and not), Sends: two Echo and one convolution reverb. Full-chain master on the master.
Title from the difficulty of extracting this week's element lutetium, but also kind of a difficult track to extract, so it fit.
Kind of a chill-out vibe this week. I was hearing some syncopated drumming, so put up a 64-pad jazz drum rack, then some Puremagnetik Rhodes as chords and leads. Saturday night I tracked Epi P-J bass (through the Balls Effects KWB, and with EQ-8 and Cabinet for tone shaping) and Epiphone Moderne (through Vox Wah, both with and without Reuss Effects Repeater Fuzz. Without involved high-pass and low-pass Auto-Filter with drive.). A last pass involved adding some percussion and balancing some chords that weren't quite compatible...and here we are.
Sends: two different Echo plugins (based on vintage presets) and a convolution reverb. Full-Chain Master on the master channel.
Title from the meaning of the name of the village of Ytterby, site of the mine where this week's element (ytterbium) was discovered.
Kind of like last week's, this week's tempo was all over the place before I tracked guitar and bass. Finally it seemed like uptempo dub, so here we are. Percussion is the 64-pad Jazz Drum Rack, 64-pad Dub Techno kit, Impulse of some hand drums I have, and hand claps. Keys are Puremagnetik Mark I Rhodes, Drawbar, and CP-70. Guitars: baglama-tuned Heit Deluxe for clean-ish rhythm, and Epiphone Moderne (Reuss RF-01 Fuzz and Vox Wah). Bass is the usual Epiphone P-J (with EQ8 to roll off lows).
Sends: auto-filter to roll off lows before a convolution reverb (marble foyer), and two Echo channels, one Dub Syndicate with high-pass, and one Analog Triplet with an LFO-bandpass filter in front. Full-chain master on everything, and auto-pan on the keys and percussion.
I submitted this, and then listening back...didn't like the lower mids. Here's a corrected mix (still on Sunday!)
Title from the use of erbium in lasers..
This week's track started much differently--at 117bpm. I had some interesting drum patterns going on, but couldn't find a way into them. Guitar and keyboard lines weren't all that interesting. So I took a radical step on Saturday and cranked the bpm down to 68--ah, now it's a dub track. OK. Then I could finish it.
Instruments: Drum Rack of 64-pad single hit jazz kit samples, Drum Rack of Dub Techno single hits, Impulse of hand claps, Operator with pitch mod (sort of a cuíca effect), Puremagnetik CP-70 ("Lite" preset), Epiphone P-J bass (EQ-8 to roll off lows), and Epiphone Moderne (through Balls Effects KWB and Vox Wah) for guitar. At the last minute, I remembered to put Drum Buss on the drums. (Oops.)
Sends: two channels of Echo (Dark Fade and Dub Syndicate presets), and one empty-swimming-pool convolution reverb. Full-chain master on the out.
Title from the use of this week's element, Holmium, an atom of which was used by IBM a couple years back to store one bit of data.
A couple times during the week I played with some different drum patterns, playing them off against each other, finally coming up with the drum theme heard throughout this piece. I also added a few simple passes of percussion, and then embellished a few with more beats.
I'd thought maybe I'd do just two basses against each other, and recorded a lot of clips in E and G that I ended up throwing out. Saturday night I re-tracked bass in A, and then did another pass of fuzz bass through the Balls Effects KWB. I put a few Rhodes lines, and then a pass of clean Epi Moderne that I'd thought of as glue, but ended up using a lot of it.
Sends: one room-sized convolution reverb, and one lightly modulated echo.
Inlines: some auto-pan on percussion and keys. EQ-8 on bass to roll off some lows, and some Cabinet for air. Auto-filter with drive and cabinet on guitar. Drum Buss on drums. Full-chain master on the stereo mix.
Title from the use of this week's element dysprosium in dosimeters.
Back to the funk. This week brought a new pedal (the Balls Effects KWB pedal, a variant of the MXR Distortion +/Ross pedal with switchable diodes and sweepable clipping), so I used that on guitars and bass. This one started as drum tracks (Drum Rack 64-pad Jazz kit), to which I added a bit of a low end with additional Typhoon kick and some percussion). Then I added two Puremagnetik Rhodes pianos, and laid down guitar (modulated wah and stationary wah) and bass (EQ-8 for bass rolloff). Sends: room-sized convolution reverb and an Echo channel.
Title from...a dad joke about the use of gadolinium (element 64) as part of the emergency shut-down procedure of some reactors, including the CANDU. (Sorry.)
Another piece that accumulated organically: I'd started by putting up a few drum racks against each other (64-pad rock kit, bongos, Hilda kit), and then put a few chords and figures of different keyboards (Live's MkI3 Mellow Piano and Puremagnetik's CP-70 pack, on the electronic-only setting). I put down Epiphone P-J bass, and then Res-O-Glas guitar through EHX LPB2ube, one pass through a mild overdrive, and another through more extreme boost.
Inline effects: M4L Humanizer on drums and MkI3, Drum Buss on percussion. EQ-8 for bass rolloff on bass, various combinations of Auto-Filter (for drive and to roll off weird direct-sounding harmonics from the Alumitones) and Cabinet on guitar. Sends: Convolution reverb (studio room impulse) and Auto-Filter with LFO into Echo on Tweezy Tape preset. Various auto-pan, and full-chain master on the stereo mix.
Title from one method of growing symmetric crystals of samarium, this week's element.
Most of my available evenings this past week involved working on a house-style Tom Waits cover for a tribute project, so I didn't start doing anything with this until Thursday and late Friday evenings. Mark Hollis's passing fresh in my mind, I thought I'd try something kind of organic and sparse, though inevitably this one got more dense over time.
I put up a simple beat in Ableton's 64-pad drum rack and did some light fingerpicking on the Fahey-tuned Univox hollowbody, and later did a pass on bass. I added drum variations, and then put down a few passes of Res-o-Glas guitar through a tremolo pedal, and put one channel of more chordal playing through the cistern convolution reverb--with no direct signal.
Toward the end of mixing, I thought I'd use Auto-Filter for distortion on one of the guitar lines, but dropped it on bass by mistake. That actually sounded pretty good, so I added an effect rack on bass with two parallel chains: one with EQ8 for sub-100Hz rolloff, and one with the auto-filter distortion on the high end.
Sends: two convolution reverbs (cistern and room) with auto-filter low-end rolloff in front, and one Echo on guitars. No dub-style automation on this one.
Title comes from one of the properties of the rare element Promethium.
This week's piece grew organically from a few drum patterns I put down (one of 808 single-hit samples, one from 909 single-hits). I had an initial synth bass I took out, but did some Ableton Analog synth over them, before replacing the synth bass with Epiphone P-J (through EQ-8 for sub-100Hz rolloff), and tracking clean (through bandpass Auto-Filter with drive and Cabinet) and distorted (Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah) Epiphone Moderne.
Sends: one convolution reverb (to a medium-sized tracking room space) and one Echo (Dub Syndicate, with timing tweaked). Auto-pan on almost everything. I used automation to send the 808 to the Echo channel. Full-chain Master on the 2-buss.
Title is from one of the applications of this week's element, Cerium, which can increase the stability of pigments exposed to light.
A busy week of wrapping up a job search...and submitting a couple versions of a track to a cover tune project. As a result, I approached this week's track a bit more intuitively. I came up with a few drum loops (64-pad rock kit drum rack, and 64-pad fingers-on-snare), and did some intuitive guitar with Res-O-Glas through an effect rack of auto-filter with drive and buffer-shuffler for some randomness. Then I put some more Res-O down (Auto-Filter with drive and cabinet plugin)...and finally some Epiphone P-J bass (direct...maybe I should have rolled off lows here, but I didn't).
Sends: Convolution reverb, two different Echo plugins. Full-chain master on the 2-buss.
Title from the meaning of the root of lanthanum (element 57).
Job-search stuff took up a lot of attention and energy this week, but I did carve out a bit of time to throw some drums together--Ableton's 32-pad jazz kit and their 64-pad Dub Techno kit, in the parts you hear in the middle section. Saturday night, I added some rhythm patterns (for beginning and end) and Epiphone Moderne with the output going only to a convolution reverb (with the Dan Harpole Cistern impulse). Then I added some sparse lead lines in another channel, and finally put down some Epiphone bass.
Sends: cistern convolution reverb, and one studio-sized convolution reverb, along with a tweaked Echo plugin. Auto-pan on the Dub Techno kit and guitars, and automation on the jazz kit for hitting the echo at the ends of phrases. Full-chain Master on the mix buss.
Title from the French name for the precipitate of barium sulfate, since barium (atomic number 56) is this week's element.
Early in the week I decided on an odd constraint: the track should have only one chord. (In this case, a Gsus4. So it's a holy chord, maybe.) I played with a couple drum rack patterns--one rock kit, one fingers-on-snare--and thew a buffer manipulation M4L plugin on the fingers-on-snare one for variety.
Saturday evening, I tracked all the guitar--four tracks of Epi Moderne, some straight into the board, some through Vox Wah, some through EHX LPB2ube, and some through Reuss RF-01. There's a lot of the one chord, but also responses to it. Epi P-J bass went on last.
This was a bit tricky to mix, given the one-chord tonality and the buildup of harmonics (themselves accentuated with fuzz), but high-pass Auto-Filter to cut out lows helped a lot. Drum Buss on the percussion helped retain impact, as did some reverb on most parts, and echo for the drums (automated) and percussion.
Title from an early use of cesium, element 55, used for the getters of vacuum tubes.